This is a hard one to cope with. On the one hand, when I’m struggling, I try to make changes that decrease my level of struggling. Then, when my struggles have decreased, I become so bored, that I want to undo all the changes I made so that I begin to struggle again.
This is seriously messed up. But it makes sense. The struggle is an indication of work and progress. It is a very explicit feeling. Not struggling doesn’t feel like anything at all. I enjoy struggling, and it would be damned near perfect if it were not for one thing: the struggle takes me out of the real world.
It makes me forget my social priorities. I become a recluse. I forego social interactions. When I’m in the midst of the struggle and a friend reaches out, I’ll say sorry, not now. The result after several, several years of the struggle is a life so focused on solving problems, that outside of that world is a barren landscape I cannot bear spending more than a few days in.
There are some advantages to focusing less on problem-solving and more on real-world affairs. I become more sociable. I go out more. And, by some impressive sorcery, I’ll initiate contact with friends. Their reaction is of shock. I might even call my mom. Gasp! I’ll visit my parents more, I’ll take my wife out to a nice dinner, I'll answer my phone. It's great.
And get this—I’ll make plans. During the struggle, if today is Thursday and you ask me, hey, want to do something on Saturday, I’ll freak. “Saturday?? Are you out of your mind? That’s 48 hours away! You expect me to commit to a plan today, Thursday, as to what should happen Saturday? Who knows what problems I’ll need to solve Saturday! Sorry. I’ll let you know Saturday morning.” Saturday comes around, and plot twist!—no can do.
Planning paralysis. I absolutely cannot commit to plans for the near or distant future. I need to keep my calendar open for the struggle.
After a point of too much struggling, I begin to feel suffocated. I’ll have not left the house for weeks on end. You’ll have not heard from me in months. And I begin to feel lonely. I begin to feel, this is no life. So I’ll start making changes. I need to focus more on improving my real-world health, and less on solving problems and making progress.
And so I do.
But never for long. The struggle is too addicting. I always come scratching back like a withdrawing crack addict.
Hey man, *scratches neck furiously* ...got some more of that struggle?